WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 173 of 211

experience with anti-Semitism. Explains Meyer: "While America has saved Gustave's life, he's had these idealized expectations of the United States — a place where everyone is created equal — but he gradually realizes that it's not the perfect place he always thought it was." However, Gustave's war- time experiences and his strong Jewish identity help him see the positive and fight for what is right as he finds his way in this new world. As a frequent writer of historical fiction, Meyer loves doing research. She uses multiple sources for inspiration, including personal memoirs, which deftly paint a picture of a certain time. "Memoirs provide details about everyday life that don't often get into the history books," she says. As a professor at Wellesley College, Meyer also has access to academic libraries, which offer even more resources than public libraries. For Black Radishes, she watched footage of a German propaganda newsreel set in France during the 1940s that showed what the girls were wearing and what the streets looked like. For Skating with the Statue of Liberty, she read a memoir of an 80-year-old man who described an automat with a golden drag - on head spigot that dispensed hot coffee. By reading a memoir by Madeleine L'Engle describing life in New York in the early 1940s, "I found out that a cup of coffee cost 5 cents and a cup of hot chocolate cost 10 cents," Meyer says. These types of details help Meyer create a rich, historically accurate world into which the young readers can transport themselves. From finding out what a train car from the 1940s looked like to learning that there was segregated seating in some movie theaters even in New York city, Meyer is adamant about getting her facts right. One of six children, Meyer grew up in Baltimore. As a child, she was confused for a while and thought that whites were the minority population in the country because they were in the minority in the city where she grew up. For a while she was a scholarship student at a Quaker school with progressive pacifist and anti-racist curriculum that helped shape her beliefs today. Plus she was a daughter of parents who brought their children to civil rights and peace rallies in the 1960s and '70s. "A lot of my beliefs came from understanding what my father had gone through as a Jew in Nazi-occupied France and see- ing the connections between anti- Semitism and racism," she says. 172 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 6 books "fight for what is right" C O U R T E S Y O F P E N G U I N R A N D O M H O U S E C O U R T E S Y O F D O W N E A S T B O O K S C O U R T E S Y O F H O L I D A Y H O U S E B O O K S

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